UNIDO and the Foundation FSSC have signed an agreement to promote food safety in low- and middle-income countries.

The partnership between the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the non-profit that manages the FSSC 22000 certification is to run for an initial period of three years.

The aim is to develop food safety systems in some low- and middle-income countries through capacity-building to reduce the socio-economic impact of foodborne diseases. 

Every year, two countries will receive support in creating a food safety culture. It will involve food safety practitioners, small and medium enterprises, national associations and food safety authorities to ensure that the food they make or control is safe for local consumption.

Reduce foodborne infection impact

Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, managing director of UNIDO’s Directorate of Digitalization, Technology and Agri-Business, said the agency has a record of promoting food safety along the value chain through capacity-building initiatives.

“We are committed to our strategic partnership with FSSC to reduce the socio-economic impact of foodborne diseases in selected low- and middle-income countries: global food safety is a shared responsibility that requires international collaboration and partnerships,” he said.

The project will share knowledge to support food safety capacity building for local production and consumption in developing nations. Foundation FSSC will join existing technical cooperation and new joint projects.

Aldin Hilbrands, director general of the Foundation FSSC, said: “Besides the partnership to support food safety capacity-building for local production and consumption in developing countries, the Foundation FSSC also actively participates by sharing knowledge to support and strengthen the local development of food safety systems.”

New ISO standards out

Meanwhile, on World Food Safety Day, the revised ISO 22003 standards on food safety management systems (parts 1 and 2) were published.

Part 1 specifies the requirements for the audit and certification of a food safety management system (FSMS). Part 2 covers products, processes and services, including food safety systems.

Kylie Sheehan, general manager of operations at the joint Australia-New Zealand accreditation body (JAS-ANZ) and part of the working group that updated the texts, said the two standards support industry organizations to achieve food safety certification.

“It also provides regulators and consumers with the confidence that certification bodies undertaking food safety certification meet minimum benchmarked requirements that provide confidence in the food safety outcomes achieved.”

The ISO 22003 standard has requirements for certification bodies to ensure they are consistent in auditor competence, audit duration and planning, site sampling and granting certification.

“Aligning requirements for all certification bodies across all schemes and the food value chain from primary production all the way to retail and catering, brings a level playing field into the industry and builds trust. Regardless of a standard chosen by the food business, the approach taken by certification bodies to measure compliance is now consistent,” said Amanda McCarthy, global food and beverage director in Business Assurance at DNV.

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